We Are Being Watched: Looking Into Consequences and Policy Responses

Big Brother isn't just watching us through the eyes of a camera anymore. As technology has advanced, so have surveillance methods. Some are so cleverly disguised that they induce people to voluntarily provide personal information. Not only are our physical selves monitored, our shopping habits, our criminal records, and even our health information are often surreptitiously recorded.

Ivan Szekely, counsellor of the Open Society Archives (OSA) at CEU and associate professor at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, is a member of Living in Surveillance Societies (LiSS), the first international multidisciplinary academic program designed to promote understanding of the consequences of enhanced surveillance and make recommendations about its future governance and practice. Though surveillance techniques are ubiquitous, relatively little is known about the depth of personal surveillance or how our personal information is used.

HRSI ran a student contest asking participants to use any medium to depict their idea of surveillance. Submissions included photo series, slide shows, digital images, and original drawings. One of the winning entries was a large cardboard figure depicting a person cutting the cable of one of the closed-circuit TV cameras installed in the CEU auditorium. The three-day conference also featured a public lecture on surveillance in cinema and a panel discussion on representations of surveillance in various genres and media.

To see a video about LiSS at CEU visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GkQpETmpKM&list=UUybCOzIBaYmXe8ms-BsYr2g&index=1&feature=plcp.